Inside Attain's long-term acquisition strategy

For several years, Attain wasn't ready to make an acquisition, but now it has, and the deal says as much about the future of the market as it does about Attain's strategy.

When Greg Baroni founded Attain in 2009, he had a specific vision – build a consultancy and build one to last.

A key to doing this also includes creating a culture where people are focused on service – and Baroni likes to say it is "Service" with a capital S.

But growth also is a critical element, and in the government market, that often means acquisitions. But other than the 2009 purchase of the parts of BearingPoint that Deloitte could not purchase because of conflict of interest concerns, Attain hasn’t been acquiring.

That all changed this week when the company purchased ACF Solutions for an undisclosed amount.

So, what took so long?

It goes back to Baroni’s vision when he founded the company and the fact that he felt Attain wasn’t ready.

“We knew we had to incubate the company without other outside stakeholders,” he said.

Without the pressure of private equity and with no bank debt, Attain has been able to grow and establish the kind of culture that Baroni sees as enabling long term success.

It wasn’t until about two years ago that the company seriously began considering acquisitions, but again, Baroni had a particular fit in mind.

“Every study points to one critical fact about why acquisitions succeed or fail and that is culture,” he said.

With ACF, he found a company with similar values in its commitment to its people, a culture of entrepreneurship and a dedication to clients.

Actually, even though Attain was looking for potential acquisition targets, it was ACF that found Attain.

“ACF was looking for a company with more scale but a common DNA,” Baroni said. “They wanted someone they could align with and they found us.”

The two companies began talking about six months ago and announced the acquisition on Oct. 4.

The acquisition brings Attain’s head count to over 500. Annual revenues topped $100 million last year.

While culture is critical, it is the skills that Attain is acquiring that also paint a picture of Baroni’s vision for the company.

Attain already had capabilities around such cloud platforms as Amazon Web Services and Workday. Workday is a cloud platform for ERP applications. It isn’t well known in the government market but has customers in the health and education sectors.

With the ACF acquisition, Attain is picking up capabilities around the Salesforce cloud platform.

The cloud is disrupting the business models for customers and the companies serving those customers, Baroni said.

“We are building a next generation consultancy focused on the disruptive forces in the market,” he said. “We are not building another government contractor.”

But the federal space moving forward with the disruptive model is a slow process. The government is still primarily buying cloud services on a fee-for-service basis. “That’s just not sustainable long term,” Baroni said.

Another reason for acquiring ACF is that it brings more customers in the quasi-government market space of health care and education.

Attain has been growing in these markets, and Baroni said he sees the potential to pull lessons learned from those markets into the federal space, eventually.

“Just as hardware and software have moved to as-a-service, services and solutions are going to move that way too,” he said.

Now that Attain has established the roots of culture and has closed one acquisition, Baroni said he expects to make more.

“We have the scale and we can move more aggressively,” he said.

While the company plans to be a buyer, it also will likely become a tempting takeover target of its own, especially if it has success bringing a new business model to the federal market. But Baroni has a very clear answer to any suitors that come calling.

“You can put this in big bold letters. We are not for sale. Ever,” he said. “We have hard coded into our operations that Attain is here to stay.”

NEXT STORY: CSR appoints new president, CEO

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.